Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 12

Straight after work I rode my motorcycle to Bristol to be able to attend Kill Your Darlings, an event put on by Cube. It was a pretty good event, and somewhat different than what I had expected. It was a sit-down-and-watch-people-perform-on-a-stage thing, rather than, well, I don't know. I don't know what I was expecting.

A few years ago –– the night after I met Jenn, as a matter of fact –– I was part of a Welsh-language literary event in which some people read poems, some read short stories, and I did a sort of one-man, one-act play that involved throwing myself to the floor several times. All of this was done more within a crowd, rather than on a stage, and we were all sort of mingling and interacting. At Cube it was a stage and theatre-style seats.

That's not to say it wasn't good –– it was worth the £6 admission (I was taken off guard by that one; I had somehow missed the fact that it cost money) just for the bloke who did a full sequel rap to Will Smith's "Boom! Shake the Room!" My favourite part was when it suddenly went into a kind of drum and bass thing and the bloke (Tom Clutterbuck) started shouting: "We've wandered too far from the source material!"

Hmm, written out, it's not that funny. I assure you it was.

I think I'd go to another KYD event (next one is 8 April) but, as I say, what it was wasn't what I thought it would be. Plus there's the adventure of getting there.

Approaching the M32, which leads into Bristol city centre, I was suddenly enveloped in a thick, Victorian-style fog, which is easily the most annoying weather condition for a motorcyclist. Because if you ride in fog it takes exactly .05 seconds for your helmet visor to be covered in mist. And then you are completely blind. You can wipe away the mist with your glove, but by the time you return your hand to the handlebars you are blind again.

Riding in the rain is no problem, even heavy rain, because the wind will simply push water away from your view along the curve of the visor. But in the fog you might as well be closing your eyes, and the only thing to do is flip the visor up and see the road unfiltered. This actually works pretty well. Except for the fact that it results in your face getting wet, and above 40 mph you become ridiculously teary-eyed. And if the fog is cold it is a special kind of hell.

On the M32 all the traffic had come to an almost stand-still, so I started filtering (riding between the cars) and it was a strange, dream-like experience, slipping through this black corridor of hazy red and white light. 

I got to the Cabot Circus car park without any problems and discovered that not only did they have motorcycle-exclusive parking but also lockers where you can leave your helmet and gloves. From there it was a half-mile walk to Cube, which included crossing the ominously named Bearpit. I obviously could have parked closer to Cube but had chosen to park at Cabot Circus because it is big and safe and getting there didn't involve having to "think on my feet" whilst riding a motorbike at night through an unfamiliar city.

But doing this created an extra adventure at the end of the evening. When I came out of Cube the fog had thickened so much that one could not see across the road. I mean that literally. And that meant that in walking back to the car park I got utterly lost because I couldn't see any landmarks. I couldn't see from one end of the Bearpit to the other. I ended up having to navigate solely by Google Maps on my phone.

So imagine how happy I was to get on a motorbike in this stuff. Thankfully, I had thought to bring my SatNav, so I clicked it on and set out, visor up and freezing mist ice-stinging my face. It was good to have the SatNav because I couldn't see any of the road signs. I clicked on my hazard lights and kept below 40 mph, trundling into nothingness. I was riding a motorbike to Annwfn, expecting at any moment to encounter Gwyn ap Nudd and his soul-hunting hounds.

Instead, I encountered the Severn Bridge. The weather had cleared by the time I got to the Wales crossing and I was back up to a normal speed but freezing. 

My father bought me some heated grips for Christmas, but I tried to save money and had them installed by an idiot. As such, they only worked for a month. I am back to suffering cold hands any time the temperature drops below 5º C. By the time I got home I couldn't feel my pinky or ring finger in my right hand.

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